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The name game.

What is the etymology of Yanomami ("Rumble in the jungle," SN: 1/27/01, p. 58)? Unless someone pulled my leg, I was told that it was Yanomamo originally. If so, then it may be that the tribe was named by outsiders, much like Native Americans were called Indians by Columbus and others.

Anibal Jose da Silva

Houston, Texas

The Yanomamo are the most numerous and best described of the four major cultural and linguistic divisions of Yanomami, according to anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson of Rutgers University. Most researchers now use the broader term, Yanomami, to refer to the Yanomamo.

Having spent the summer of '75 among the Yanomami in Roraima Territory, Brazil, I read your coverage of the Chagnon-Tierny dustup with some interest. I am surprised that there has been no mention of the book Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman's Story, by Mark Ritchie, as told to him by Jungleman (2000, Island Lake Press).

I found the book fascinating because it is the first time that I have gotten a Yanomamo's perspective on life in general and missionaries, anthropologists, and prospectors in particular.

Tim Robinson

University Park, Pa.

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Author:Robinson, Tim
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Mar 10, 2001
Words:216
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